* Posts by El (not Reg)

13 publicly visible posts • joined 11 Oct 2007

Lost HMRC discs pop up on eBay

El (not Reg)

TNT? Light touchpaper & retire.

"those mislaid HMRC discs going for a song"

Swapsies for a cabinet full of ripped mp3s.

Intel 'Penryn' Core 2 Extreme QX9650

El (not Reg)

@Anonymous Coward

VAT, alone, wouldn't account for the approximate 30% difference in the Reg's idea of US vs. UK pricing. Neither would VAT combined with customs duty. A quick read of HM Revenue & Customs says that there is no duty payable for PCs; & therefore component parts, also, I think. So, still unfairly priced, based on the available information. Do you care to add any other taxes; ones which can also be deducted, under certain circumstances; before comparing like for like?

El (not Reg)

The exchange rate...

...isn't anywhere near $1.52/£1, & hasn't been for a number of years. Given that the currency market rate is $2.05 (& going up), or thereabouts; estimates for chip prices should be nearer $1.95-$2.00 for a quid. Unless, of course, Intel has a history of pulling the same transatlantic pricing stunts as Microsoft, for instance.

Carmack's X-Prize rocket explodes on pad

El (not Reg)

The Lunar Lander Challenge...

is essentially an attempt to recreate NASA's LLRV 'flying bedstead'. A lunar lander has a set of rockets (for maneuvering, as well as thrust) onboard, but not the full stack which would be required for an Earth-based orbital or suborbital launch; which the Reg article may not make explicitly clear. One shouldn't think of this as a Challenger-style explosion. Though, the failure of one component may be just as crucial, to the vehicle's ability to work. As with a computer; finding that duff component may take more time than rebuilding the thing. Makes for a good headline, though, eh?

Astronauts ride robotic arms into space

El (not Reg)

@Anonymous Coward no.2

"if an astronaut were to become detached and float away approximately how far would the body travel before being consumed elsewhere?"

They'd continue in a slowly diverging orbit, until their orbit decayed through atmospheric drag (there is still a trace of atmosphere @ 300-400km, which will eventually slow things down) & they fell back to reentry. They certainly wouldn't have any sufficient energy to go 'up' (i.e. away from the earth).

"How far is a light year?"

Rather far. Nine & a half quadrillion kilometres. i.e. 9.5 petametres.

Back to the article... if NASA, ESA or Roscosmos had bothered to build a rocket which was four times as powerful as a Saturn V, then they would've lifted the entire space station in one go, without much need for slow & expensive orbital construction. If NASA thinks that it's going to manage any full-on, permanent, lunar exploration & development with anything as underpowered as a handful of Ares V rockets, then they've got another thing coming - & that thing will likely be from China. Which is why the space agencies need bigger rockets with air-breathing first stages, to cut down on fuel payload. The ISS could also do with an ion engine to be retrofitted, to keep it aloft (it needs an engine burn every once in a while, anyway) or to move it into a higher orbit. An old-fashioned liquid fuel rocket engine burn (courtesy of the shuttle orbiter or Soyuz), in this situation, is wasteful of fuel mass/payload.

Hypersonic hydrogen airliner to bitchslap Concorde

El (not Reg)

@Steve Welsh, EROEI

It'd ultimately depend on how much, & what kind of, use the engine is put to, as to the degree of negative EROEI. This engine will not result in the immediate termination of a hydrocarbon-driven economy. Such an aircraft/spacecraft engine would be used for a very small segment of the overall commercial aerospace market. The standalone EROEI absolutely should not be allowed to stop development, at the very least, for use towards allowing bigger payloads to space; though the need to carry less liquid oxygen onboard the first stage of a rocket. LOX/LH2 is bog-standard rocket fuel, by your reasoning this would justifiably ground a pretty big chunk of launches, not taking any other potentially beneficial factors into account.

"Hydrogen is NOT an energy source"

I never said it was, so please don't put words into my mouth.

"...mankind making this planet into another Mars."

If I'm reading you correctly, as you've presented it, then you're suggesting that this'll cause global cooling or that the planet will dry up? If cooling, then this sounds like panic talk; go & panic about Yellowstone blowing it's lid. If water, then what do you think that LOX & LH2 combustion produces? Please rethink how you present this, in future.

El (not Reg)

ESA plus British boffinry, eh?

What's the projected maximum cruising altitude for this, at mach 5.5, whilst air-breathing? Though this aircraft's design is not intended for orbit, the engine design will open up a massive cost reduction in payload to orbit, when used with LOX, for above the air-breathing cruise altitude. After all, at a high enough altitude (i.e. above most of the heavy atmosphere, say 100,000ft+) & at that velocity, you've already done a big fraction of the gruntwork to get to orbit. Environmentally clean, too. The engine is suitable for a pure rocket, as well as a high-atmosphere airliner. Though, I wouldn't use this engine for a spaceplane. For few passengers & large amounts of equipment to orbit, it'd be better to carry a separate, disposable capsule-type (if you want a more comfortable ride, something like Russia's Kliper design?) reentry vehicle as part of the payload or as the nosecone. NASA's shuttle is too cost-inefficient in terms of deadweight payload (i.e. the orbiter's unnecessarily high reentry mass, itself).

Though, this engine design is spot on. Get it working, ESA!

Air chief: UK should have RAF astronaut

El (not Reg)

ACM Torpy is on a suborbital ballistic trajectory...

"I would like to see an RAF astronaut in the not-too-distant future"

ACM Torpy isn't aiming high enough! Just one astronaut?! How about "We flaminwell need a fully-fledged British Commonwealth Space Program, ASAP!"

Even just a couple of astronauts isn't going to cut it. We need to think of scale; start small whilst building slowly & carefully, but with designs to be bigger than the Constellation program & Ares rockets, more longer-lasting than Soyuz & a more cost-efficient payload to LEO than anybody. Astronauts are only one part of the jigsaw; what about our own rockets? What about a Commonwealth launch facility, independent of the US, Russia or Europe? What could the RAF bring to this? How about a formalised spaceflight training school. How about finding that Commonwealth version of Korolyov - an organiser, strategist & designer; one who should be being employed somewhere down the line, by military top brass. Speeding the way to doing this all, independently? Buy the rights to use the blueprints to Soyuz, or buy Soyuz technology directly from Russia, as China is effectively doing with the Shenzhou spacecraft. This'd help to get the people, on the ground, used to handling the technology & being knowledgeable of it. Where would be suitable as a launch site? Either the Northeast coast of Australia, or a floating launch platform, stationed in the Mid-Atlantic. Each would have hundreds of miles of sea to the east, & be near to the equator, i.e. the best launch sites. Furthermore, we already have the guts of a potential tracking station/mission control facility at Jodrell Bank.

The key is to plan big, then to build it bulletproof. Remember Telford & Brunel, engineering & planning equals of Korolyov in every way - neither were military men - they were good enough strategists as to be disagreeable to getting shot at. ACM Torpy wants 'The Right Stuff', well, aviators are better than pilots - look to the guys who can do a horizontal landing on a carrier, if we still have any in the Commonwealth.

n.b. After initial setup costs, this can be done on the tiniest fraction of the NHS budget; at <$50m (under £25 million) per launch, Soyuz demonstrates this. What was spent on the Dome, the new Wembley or the various new parliament buildings in Cardiff, London or Edinburgh? Splitting costs amongst Commonwealth members, who join in, would reduce an individual nation's cost even further (I'd bet on Australia & Canada being up for it, if Britain was). Now, tell me it can't be done!

Home Office minister invites DNA database debate

El (not Reg)

Indication vs. Proof

"[Meg Hillier] also stressed the fact that a person's DNA was held on the database was not an indication of guilt."

The phrase "an indication of guilt" would've been better put as "proof of guilt". A politician; as is now usual, of the unLaboured variety; uses description slippage to soften up the public, for the next stage of whatever it is, yet again.

Geoffrey Orchard would've had his DNA collected as evidence, at the very least, potential evidence. So, how is this evidence not being used as a past, present or future indicator, exactly? If DNA serves no purpose as evidence/indication of guilt, then why do the police need to collect it, hold it & generally waste their own time with it? The fact is that the police would use it as evidence/indication of guilt, in court, if they thought that they could get away with making use of it; as with a doctored photograph, in the de Menezes case. Ms. Hillier has stressed a non-fact (i.e. a big, stinking pile of it), from the point of view of police evidence. Everyone, when in use on that database, is considered to be guilty until discounted as innocent; something which is completely contrary to English, though not European/Napoleonic, law! What purpose does it serve in maintaining this database, which Joe Public is not being told by an elected official, if DNA is not being used as an indication of guilt? No spoken purpose, so scrap it or come clean.

LHC@home gets new home

El (not Reg)

The BOINCfest begins...

The project, which I've really wanted to crunch for, is back up. The workunits have been regular, this week; so far, so good.

Straight from the top, with some more detail:


New users can create an account & find out how to get started on the homepage:


US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly

El (not Reg)

I will fly, freely, or I will find another way...

Fortunately, there are ways & means to get in to, & out of, a country other than through an airport. Back channels will always exist, regardless of state. There is always a way to neutralise anything that a government chooses to push upon people. Likewise, a monolithic government (whether America, the EU or whichever) will never be able to overcome every last grain of humanity. Their gargantuan size makes them obvious targets as 'mechanisms to be spannered' - & simply spannered they are. The correct cog jammed, removed etc. & the whole thing will become ineffectual. The People are not so fearful as those in government; officials who succeed in self-reinforcing state-detectionist ideals, with colleagues.

Constance: As a non-American, if this is any small comfort; I still have a shred of good faith in the America, which you speak of. My word is my bond; rebuild this knowledge, & your country will be restored.

Currency launched to cover the cosmos

El (not Reg)

You'll always need to think about the distance matter.

re:You won't need to worry about the distance issue...

"Simple enough?"

No; it reeks of the middleman wanting his undeserved cut, again. If humanity's planning on taking it's capacity to be unselfsufficient into space, then it's not going to get very far. When the west of North America was settled, there were supply lines back to civilisation, yet, for the most part, it was 'every man for himself', on the way to fully settling the land. Space will be like this, except that there's no west coast which forces one to stop at - ever! i.e. Never full settlement. Self-sufficiency will be the only thing that'll get a significant population into space, combined with the carrot of resources to exploit (the reason Antarctica is still, pretty much, empty - the resources are there, but people are scared of altering the place!). The old European seagoing explorers knew this, too. Consideration of wilderness survival, & the history of Earth's exploration, will go a long way to understanding how things will work, in the future, up there.

If you want to trade with me, I'd rather keep my materials, & supplies for exchange, onboard my transport (it'd better have a big cargo bay!); like was done on a wagon train, Drake's Golden Hinde or Cook's Endeavour, for example. I wouldn't exchange something of genuine use (an ion engine, air scrubber, water, LOX, sheetmetal, dehydro'd rations etc.) for something of no genuine value.

Put simply; do you think that fiat currency was any use to Amundsen or Scott, on the way to the South Pole?

Vista Business sales soar like leaping dachshund

El (not Reg)

@marc re:Dual Boot

That wouldn't be unprecedented, even for Microsoft. Being able to dual boot a combined OS of XP32 with Vista64 could be a way forward & would certainly help shift sales of Vista64, if Vista64 was sold as an extension to XP32 (i.e. With XP32 being the main constituent of the sale). Alternatively, fully legacy XP32 on a Vista64 disc. They had the same problem to overcome with Win3.1 to Win95, when the move was from 16-bit to 32-bit, & MS-DOS still being included (still is included as a standalone from XP, as an A:\ format option & some of us do still use it occasionally, believe it or not!). Though, it wasn't such a big deal at the time, as it is this time, as everyone plus pet dog didn't use Win3.1 so comprehensively as XP32, now.